sport

Dubai concern for Athos team

Connections of Mount Athos feel the Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes at Chester on Friday might come too quickly following his Dubai exertions.

Marco Botti's seven-year-old won the Group Three 12 months ago, when trained by Luca Cumani, but he ran twice at Meydan in March, including when down the field in the Sheema Classic.

Mount Athos' chief aim this season will again be the Emirates Melbourne Cup, in which he finished third last year.

Owner Dr Marwan Koukash said: "He runs in the Ormonde but it might just come a week too soon for him after coming back from Dubai.

"Mount Athos will be aimed at the Melbourne Cup again.

"We've won the Chester Cup so the Melbourne Cup is the one I want now."

Brown Panther makes his seasonal bow as trainer Tom Dascombe charts a route towards the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

The six-year-old finished last of four in the Ormonde two years ago, but has since held his form with laudable consistency.

Dascombe said: "We're happy with him and he's ready to go, but it won't be the main event this season.

"The rain that is forecast won't inconvenience him, but it does look a very good race, with the likes of Mount Athos in there.

"You can forget his last run at Chester - he was wrong that day and it just didn't happen for him.

"It's a big day for us, obviously, but he should improve for the run."

Hillstar is another leading contender for Sir Michael Stoute, but things have not quite gone to plan since he won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer.

His most recent display in the Dubai World Cup also ended in disappointment as he beat just two horses home.

With Ernest Hemingway having been declared a non-runner, the line-up is completed by Banoffee, winner of last season's Cheshire Oaks, and the 97-rated filly Jathabah.